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A Home Without Books is Like a Body Without A Soul

Jul 23, 2011 3:20:30 PM - thesundayleader.lk

People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” So Logan Pearsall Smith, an American writer said. I heartily agree with this sentiment. I wish I could read the whole day, but I don’t think this would be possible in any situation, because even a librarian would have assigned duties.

I also don’t like to give up reading a book unless it is totally dreary, and sometimes even though the plot is quite slow, I read doggedly to the end. Haven’t you found that you simply whizz through a book that you like, but one that doesn’t catch your fancy takes ages to finish?

I went to the bookstore only yesterday, on the pretext of buying another book-lover a birthday present, but ended up getting double the number of books for myself! Even though my legs were throbbing, I continued to search until I found exactly what I wanted. Now I can’t wait to get through the book I started on two days ago (darn!) and start on the new ones. Of course, I have more unread books at home, but just can’t resist buying some particular authors I really like. It’s a question of availability. It is said that a home without books is a body without a soul. Well, in that respect, we got plenty of soul, baby! We have books scattered all over the house, even in the toilet. When I have too many on the shelves, I give them away. I gave away a whole series that the girls outgrew to other children. When the girls were in school, in between their extra curricular activities, I would always have a book in the vehicle to read. People couldn’t understand it and they asked me why I didn’t pop over for a chat instead.

Lots of the popular series we used to read aren’t seen in bookshops today, like the Bobbsey twins, Trixie Belden, Billy and Bessie Bunter and one of my favourites, the William set of books. My mum constantly exclaimed, “ These children devour books!” But Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews can be purchased anywhere. I’ve noticed that the current kids books are rather scary, take the Harry Potter series, enough to give the toughest person nightmares! There are lots of stories about ghosts, monsters and scary creatures like that. Of course, you do get lots more choice, and certainly there are happy ones about fairies, animals and characters like Dora. I suppose modern kids have much more diversions with television, computers and electronic games. But I still like to give them books and hope that they would read.

So, imagine my dismay when I heard that Borders has declared bankruptcy and is going into liquidation! That was the bookshop we would visit whenever overseas. Apparently, one reason for the drop in sales is the recession, so people have other things on their list of priorities. Another thing is the pace of life, it is so hectic  that sometimes people are too exhausted to concentrate on a book and prefer to flick on their television sets and watch something light. Technology is another development that does away with the necessity of actually visiting a bookshop, as one can order books online and get them delivered to your doorstep. An additional factor is a person can read books online. I think I could never do this. There’s nothing like relaxing with a good book, though nowadays more often than not I’m found dozing with the book on my face! I think I will be different this time and put my current book aside and start on one of my new ones.

I’m writing this later, and yet again, I dozed off! Anyway, this new book definitely sounds streets ahead of the one I was reading. When you read, you can lose yourself in the book and not even notice that you are alone. The Beautiful Dreamer is a living embodiment of this, even when she was in school she drifted from class to class with her nose permanently buried in a book and was quite unaware of what was going on in the world around her. She still stays up the whole night sometimes and finishes a book. I usually read myself to sleep. By reading something written by someone else, you can see things through another’s mind, and it encourages you to think more and develop your own. Of course, sometimes it’s nice to read some lighthearted nonsense, since one doesn’t need much concentration to absorb it and can therefore be totally relaxed.

- Honky Tonk Woman